Festival enjoys sunny skies, cooler temps

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Visitors to the 32nd annual Spring Water Festival on Saturday enjoyed cooler temperatures and sunny skies, making it one of the more pleasant and enjoyable festivals, organizers said. “A good crowd and a steady crowd enjoyed the festival on Saturday,” Festival Chairman David Meade said. Attendance estimates by police, fire and committee members were around 7000 to 8000 people attended the festival. Those who attended spent money on festival food, craft items and amusement rides for children.

“It wasn’t our largest crowd but those who came seemed to really enjoy it this year,” Meade said.

Craft vendors saw a steady stream of shoppers and had strong sales throughout the day, according to Spring Water Committee member Ellen Harvell, who organizes and oversees the craft area of the festival. “We had a strong crowd with a lot of people purchasing items,” she said. “Most vendors were pleased with our festival and many want to come back.”

A vendor from Roanoke Virginia who had metal yard art did very well and glass blower, Patrick Winston of Atlanta also received a lot of attention. Harvell said she had 50 craft vendors registered and two more that did not show up.

A new attraction added this year was acoustic music in the gazebo located in the center of the craft area.

“The vendors enjoyed it and it was so pleasant,” Harvell said. Members of Whitten City News performed songs for about 45 minutes. “This will probably be expanded to include more music next year,” Harvell said.

Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor said there were no violations or arrests and no traffic issues during the festival. “Everything went well,” he said.

Taylor’s biggest concern was whether someone would send him into the water in a dunking tank sponsored by the Police Department during the festival. “It was a lot of fun,” he said.

Spring Water Committee member Steve Ellison, who is also the town’s fire chief, said the car show had some of the most impressive entries ever.

“We had 135 of the best show cars we’ve seen register,” he said. “Due to the recent wet weather, we were unable to park some of the cars behind the fire station, so we had to use Main Street.” The festival car show is organized by the Williamston Fire Department.

Car Show Winners

Awards were given to the Top 25 vehicles, and there were eight specialty awards.

Winners of the specality awards included:

Best GM – Phil Whitt Anderson, SC 1969 Chevrolet Camaro.

Best Mopar – Dennis Garris Williamston, SC 1970 Baracuda.

Best Ford – Les Mahaffey Easley, SC 1966 Ford Fairlane.

Best Street Rod – Scott McCallum Pendleton SC 1932 Chevrolet Sedan.

Best Original – Donald White Anderson SC 1973 Volkswagen Bug.

Best Truck – Dwight Edwards Anderson, SC 1966 Chevrolet Truck.

Mayor’s Choice – William Roark Honea Path, SC 1957 Buick Special.

Will Drake Award – Tony Phillips Greenwood, SC 1951 Mercury Custom.

Winner of the 52″ Flat Screen HDTV drawing was Tony Getsinger of Anderson.

“We want to say THANK YOU to all of our participants, as well as the firefighters of Williamston Fire Deptarment,” Chief Ellison said.

Overall, organizers said the festival was a success and several events including dedication of a plaque to the late Dr. Smith, tipping of the cup by mayor and council and an evening of elegant entertainment by Loretta Holloway made it special.

Mayor Mack Durham said, “It was a really good time. The food was wonderful.”

Durham said, “The Smith family felt very honored to have Dr. Smith recognized for the impact he had on our community.”

“It is important for us to remember all those who have impacted Williamston and Dr. Smith was a part of that,” the mayor said. Durham said he plans to recognize other people who have been prominient in the history of the town in the future.

Committee member Dianne Lollis said business display vendors were pleased with the response they received during the festival.

The Spring Water Run had 135 entries in the 5K and 30 for the one mile fun run, according to race organizer Chris Bradberry.

A thunderstorm and heavy rain on Friday forced the cancellation of a beach music show which had approximately 800 people attending.

“A good crowd was there and the threatening weather hit the area just as the Original-Out-of-Towners were scheduled to play,” said Meade. “Everyone was disappointed the show was cancelled. The festival has a Rain or Shine policy and unfortunately the heavy rain forced us to cancel the entertainment on Friday. On Saturday the weather was as good as it gets in August,” Meade said.

According to Meade, the festival has been blessed with good weather and has only been rained out two or three times during the 32 years it has been held.

Meade said he hopes to reschedule with the Original-Out-Of-Towners for a show in Williamston later this fall.